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Sports briefs

Compiled from Times wires

© St. Petersburg Times, published December 22, 2000

Clay Court Championship bolts Disney for Texas

The U.S. Men's Clay Court Championship is moving to Houston's West Side Tennis Club.

The USTA on Thursday announced the tournament will be held April 30-May 6, returning top-level professional tennis to the state of Texas.

The last major men's event in Texas was the WCT Finals in Dallas, which was last played in 1989. The last ATP event in Houston was held in 1986.

First contested in 1910, the Men's Clay Court Championships has been held in Lake Buena Vista the last four years.

MORE TENNIS: Boris Becker, who has filed for divorce in Germany, wants his wife's alimony and child support case in Miami to be conducted in private because of numerous death and kidnapping threats. Open proceedings would pose a "substantially increased risk of injury and harm" to Becker's 6-year-old son and 15-month-old daughter, according to his request to seal court records and any hearings. In addition, Becker wants Barbara's case to be dismissed, saying their 1993 prenuptial agreement requires any divorce or custody proceedings to be brought in Germany, and their "marital home" has always been Munich. Barbara Becker has not filed for divorce, but she has obtained a court order requiring the children to stay in south Florida. The couple owns a $3.1-million condominium on Miami Beach's Fisher Island. ... BNP Paribas SA, France's biggest lender, said it agreed to become the main sponsor of the Davis Cup from 2002-06, replacing NEC Corp.

SOCCER: Former MLS Rookie of the Year Ben Olsen will stay with Nottingham Forest through the end of the English season, the Division One club said. Forest has reached an agreement with MLS to extend the loan for the 23-year-old midfielder, who left D.C. United in October on a three-month loan.

BOXING: Oscar De La Hoya's ex-fiancee has filed a $62.5-million palimony lawsuit against the boxer. In the suit filed Wednesday, actress Shanna Moakler claims De La Hoya used her and their 18-month-old daughter, Atiana Cecilia, "as props to promote his public image as a good husband and father." De La Hoya released a statement, in which he said, "The allegations in the complaint are completely and totally false." De La Hoya's attorney, Stephen Espinoza, said his client "has acknowledged his obligations to his daughter and is currently providing for all of her needs." According to the lawsuit, De La Hoya announced his engagement to Moakler in October 1998, then referred to her as his wife. Moakler said she learned the relationship was over when she saw him escorting another woman to the Latin Grammys in September. The lawsuit claims De La Hoya promised her "half of the income and property acquired during their relationship as well as financial support sufficient to maintain the standard of living they enjoyed during their relationship."

OLYMPICS: United Parcel Service is ending its six-year sponsorship with the IOC, becoming the second major sponsor to withdraw before the 2002 and 2004 Olympics. UPS decided against renewing its global sponsorship deal that expires Dec. 31. Two years ago, IBM said it would end its association after the Sydney Games. The decision had marketing officials scrambling to find a replacement. "We believe this is an extremely marketable category," Mark Lewis said in Salt Lake City, site of the 2002 Winter Games.

COLLEGES: FSU women's soccer freshman Emma Breland was awarded third-team All-America honors by SoccerBuzz magazine. ... Notre Dame plans to add 64 scholarships in the next four years so that all 26 varsity sports will have the maximum number of scholarships allowed by the NCAA. The sports receiving additional scholarships will be baseball, men's and women's fencing, men's and women's golf, men's and women's lacrosse, women's rowing, men's soccer, men's swimming, men's and women's cross country and track and field. Athletic director Kevin White said the goal is for Notre Dame to become more competitive for the Sears Cup, awarded annually to the nation's top overall athletic program. Notre Dame has finished 11th twice, during the 1993-94 school year and during 1995-96. The Irish finished 21st last year and are now in 12th place.

BOWLING: Norm Duke won his second PBA Player of the Year Award. In balloting by the bowlers, Duke received 58 percent of the vote. He was followed in the balloting by Ryan Shafer and Chris Barnes. Duke, who also received the award in 1994, becomes the eighth player to win the honor more than once. Rookie of the year went to Joe Ciccone, who received 86 percent of the votes, beating Patrick Allen and Ritchie Allen.

GOLF: The European PGA Tour said its golfers voted for an independent audit of the ruling body's accounts after a request by senior players for more details to be disclosed. Former Masters champions Nick Faldo, Jose Maria Olazabal, Bernhard Langer and Seve Ballesteros said last month they wanted to see how the tour spent annual revenue of about 50-million pounds ($75-million). ... YourLife Vitamins was named title sponsor of the LPGA event Jan. 12-14 at Grand Cypress Resort in Orlando. The $1-million event is the first on next year's LPGA schedule. The tournament had been known as the Classic.

SKIING: Cristoph Gruber won a men's giant-slalom race in Bormio, Italy, beating Eric Schlopy, whose second-place finish was the best by an American in the event since 1983. Schlopy's showing, the best in any event by a U.S. skier this season, continued the American team's success, particularly in the giant slalom. Schlopy finished fourth in his hometown of Park City, Utah, and Bode Miller placed third last week at Val d'Isere, France. "I was carried by the wave of the team's success," Schlopy said. "Soon that wave is going to push one of us to a win." The last American men's giant slalom winner was Phil Mahre in the final race of the 1983 season at Furano, Japan. World Cup leader Herman Maier placed 10th.

CYCLING: The coach of Italy's national team, Antonio Fusi, and nine cyclists reportedly are targets of the drug investigation that led to the conviction of Marco Pantani. The daily newspaper Corrierre dello Sport reported the coach and cyclists are among 18 people targeted in a long-running probe into the use of the banned performance-enhancing drug EPO. Pantani, the 1998 Tour de France and Giro d'Italia champion, was found guilty last week of sports fraud. He was given a three-month suspended prison term and fined $500.

HORSE RACING: Police in Inglewood, Calif., are investigating what they characterize as a "threatening" anonymous letter received by jockey Gary Stevens at Hollywood Park on Sunday. Both Inglewood police and a spokeswoman for the Pasadena Police Department said there appears to be no link between the letter to Stevens and the Dec. 3 death of Chris Antley, another top jockey who was found dead, a victim of severe head trauma, in his Pasadena home. Russell Baze topped the 400-victory mark at Golden Gate Fields for the eighth time in his career, winning aboard Run A Copy in the fourth race. Baze has won at least 400 races every year since 1992 except for last year, when an injury kept him out of action for five weeks. ...Slash Cottage scored a half-length victory in the $54,000 allowance feature at Aqueduct in New York. ... Tyler Baze, the 18-year-old jockey who lost his apprentice allowance this week, rode Breakfastatbluebird to victory in the $38,000 feature race at California's Hollywood Park. ... Turfway Park in Kentucky canceled racing because of cold weather for the sixth time this season.

FISHING: Operation Walleye announced the introduction of a $2.9-million professional walleye circuit known as the Wal-Mart RCL Walleye Series. The series will consist of four qualifying events and a year-end championship.

OBITUARY: Russian figure skating coach Svetlana Korneitchenko, 37, died from massive brain and chest injuries she suffered in a car crash Dec. 5.

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